When former President Khatami announced his candidacy a few months ago, provincial visits were an important part of his campaign . During these visits , the popular reception was exceptional not only in cities but in villages as well. Peculiar events were reported on the sidelines of these trips. In one village they visited they noticed people were shouting among the usual welcoming notes : "Death to potatoes !" Everyone was surprised and taken aback . What could this imply? The villagers later explained that the government was distributing free potatoes which were thought to be rejected from a major exports project.
At that time, no one thought that this would be a general policy of the government on the eve of Presidential elections. Today, this round of elections are coined by media as "Potato Elections". The government of President Ahmadinejad is distributing potatoes free of charge in cities and villages alike.There has been widespread reporting and criticism of the matter in the independent press. Mir Hossein Mousavi has announced that his campaign headquarters does not have access to public resources like the President to distribute alms and potatoes. He has also indicated that he does not believe in these maligned economic gestures which only aim to gain votes. The reality is that Iranians are now more educated and politically informed than ever before in Iran's history . Many see this policy of the government as a desperate attempt in the final days before the election to gain popularity. The people however feel that this is an insult to their dignity and their wisdom. Votes are based on informed decisions and awareness not on spending to buy them.